Consultants for the Enniscorthy Flood Relief Scheme have yet to be appointed, causing major delays in the progress of the project.
Initial estimations indicated that this key step would have been made in July but this date was then pushed back until the end of September at the recent Enniscorthy Municipal District Council Meeting. Despite this, approval is yet to be obtained from the Office of Public Works to proceed with the appointment. According to Project Resident Engineer Larry McHale, the delay is due to the complexity of the process.
‘The evaluation of tenders for the appointment of consultants is a lengthy and rigorous process,’ he said. ‘We expect to have approval from the Office of Public Works to proceed with the appointment in the coming weeks.’
The appointments will mean that work on the project can move forward and a detailed design for the Main Flood Defence Works and the New Bridge can commence.
Despite the appointment delay, advances have been made in recent months. An Environmental Impact Statement and Outline Design were completed by the OPW at the preliminary design stage. Dr Martin O’Grady Fisheries Expert was then appointed in July to provide advice on the detailed design of the proposed dredging works and river rehabilitation works during construction. However, even with the consultant appointment, main construction works will not be able to take place before preliminary works are carried out on Promenade Road.
‘We cannot start on anything until the pre-works are done,’ said Cllr Keith Doyle. ‘We will be consulting with the hotel and Chamber of Commerce to make sure that we have the least impact possible.’
Although he is satisfied with the scheme’s progress, Cllr Doyle continues to hold reservations over the proposed plans for the new bridge.
‘I am always concerned about the bridge. On the plans, the bridge is going across the river and onto Mill Park Road between Arnolds Cross and the school. I don’t think that is going to work,’ he said. ‘I’ve asked our officials to move it to where the roundabout is. We are waiting until consultants have been appointed before we discuss the final details.’
Another aspect of the ongoing works in Enniscorthy that Cllr Doyle believes needs to be highlighted concerns the extension to St John’s Treatment Plant. He believes that the decision made to expand the existing Enniscorthy Wastewater Treatment Plant is ‘equally as important to Enniscorthy as the flood relief scheme.’
‘I’ve been shouting about this for a few years,’ he said. ‘Irish Water was talking about going to tender in relation to phase 3 of the main drainage scheme but they couldn’t do that until they made their mind up about extending the capacity of the plant. Until now, it was at full capacity. People couldn’t build a new house. If someone wanted to build a factory, we couldn’t give them planning permission. All that we could give them permission to do is build an extension.’
The announcement of the extension lifts the barrier that had been preventing building in the area. ‘It still has to go to tender but at least we got over that hurdle,’ he said. ‘It is as significant to Enniscorthy as anything else at the moment.’
(First published in the Enniscorthy Guardian newspaper: print edition. Also available online at: http://www.independent.ie/regionals/enniscorthyguardian/news/threemonth-delay-in-flood-relief-scheme-31584723.html)